SECTION 1. Chapter 208 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after Section 31, a new section as follows: -
Section 31B. Parental rights and responsibilities; parenting plans; use of terms.
In agreements relative to custody or parenting plans pursuant to section 31 of this chapter, the parties may use alternative terms if they specifically agree to do so in writing. The following terms may be substituted, the definitions of which are identical to the terms contained in section 31.. Any provision of law or court order or court rule that allocates “parental rights and responsibilities” shall correspond to the definitions of custody as provided in section 31 and any provision of law or court order or court rule that refers to the “custody” of minor children shall correspond to the definitions in this section.
For the purposes of this chapter, the following terms shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:
“Sole decision making responsibility,” one parent shall have the right and responsibility to make major decisions regarding the child’s welfare including matters of education, medical care and emotional, moral and religious development. This term corresponds with “sole legal custody.”
“Shared decision making responsibility,” continued mutual responsibility and involvement by both parents in major decisions regarding the child’s welfare including matters of education, medical care and emotional, moral and religious development. This term corresponds with “shared legal custody.”
“Primary residential responsibility,” a child shall reside with and be under the supervision of one parent, subject to reasonable time with the other parent, unless the court determines that such time with the other parent would not be in the best interest of the child. This term corresponds with “sole physical custody.”
“Shared residential responsibility,” a child shall have periods of residing with and being under the supervision of each parent; provided, however, that such periods shall be shared by the parents in such a way as to assure a child frequent and continued contact with both parents. This term corresponds with “shared physical custody.”
“Parental rights and responsibilities,” all rights and responsibilities parents have concerning their child, including decision-making responsibility and residential responsibility. This term corresponds with “custody.”
“Parenting plan,” a written plan describing the rights and responsibilities of each parent. A parenting plan may include, without limitation, provisions relating to:
(1) decision-making responsibility and residential responsibility;
(2) information sharing and access, including telephone and electronic access;
(3) legal residence of a child for school attendance;
(4) parenting schedule, including
(i) holiday, birthday and vacation planning,
(ii) weekends, including holidays and school in-service days preceding or following weekends;
(5) transportation and exchange of the child;
(6) relocation of parents;
(7) the safety of the child and of the parents;
(8) procedure for review and adjustment of the plan; and
(9) methods for resolving disputes.
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